Storrs, Conn. Connecticut’s Kemba Walker says the school’s decision to put his name and number on the wall of its basketball arena helped him decide it was time to head to the NBA.
“I think from that point out it did, because it was like coach just kicked me out,” the junior All-American said. “It says 2008 to 2011 (on the banner), so it was like he’s (saying), ‘Let’s get him out of here.”’
Walker announced Tuesday he will enter the June draft. He said he has not hired an agent, but has been talking to them.
“There’s no chance that I’m coming back,” Walker said before joking: “Coach, like he said, he doesn’t have a scholarship for me.”
The 6-foot-1 guard led the Huskies to a 32-9 record, including an 11-0 postseason run that ended with a national championship. Walker is expected to be a first-round pick, and perhaps the second guard chosen behind Duke’s Kyrie Irving.
Walker said he’s been motivated by criticism that he’s too short and won’t be able to guard in the NBA.
“Hopefully, I can go into the NBA and once again prove all the doubters wrong, like I’ve been doing my whole life,” he said.
Walker averaged 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists during his junior season. He scored a school record 965 points, accounting for 45 percent of the Huskies’ offense.
Walker on Tuesday thanked coach Jim Calhoun “for turning me into a man.” Calhoun had advised Walker to leave.
“He’s ready to move on as a basketball player, both emotionally and physically,” Calhoun said. “He just completed the finest basketball season in the history of this university — in 111 years I believe it is. He’s done everything humanly possible in my opinion that he possibly can do.”